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In our last post, we mentioned that YouTube ads is among the most effective platforms to run, especially for musicians in this day and age. However, selecting the right platforms is only one step of the process. Although appropriate ad types (ex. concise text ads, visual video ads, or interactive banner ads) will increase the distinctiveness of your message, the most successful campaigns also understand who their audiences are and how to target them effectively.

Successful campaigns are earned, not born

Strategic targeting is extremely important to the success of a campaign because of the high levels of engagement it creates between the audience and the ads. Whether you are planning to advertise for a lifestyle product, an entertainment event, or a new band, your ads will only be as powerful as your targeting strategy. In certain cases, we have seen campaigns pulling in better results simply due to the change in targeting, which can be a difference of thousands of dollars in sales. That said, the more informed you are of your targeting options, the more focused and impactful your campaigns will be.

So what are your choices? Below is a list of the main targeting methods offered for YouTube video ads. Some, if not many, of these also apply to other types of ads on Google AdWords, Bing Ads Network, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

  1. Keywords (Search & Contextual)
  2. Interest category
  3. Topic
  4. Placements
  5. Remarketing (or retargeting)
  6. Demographics

Let’s go over each one and their potential value in finding your niche market.

Keywords, in general, can be divided into two types
(1) Every related word and phrase that points to the focus of the campaign (ex. names of all recent songs and members of a band, different versions of a band name)

(2) Words and/or phrases referring to similar targets or lifestyle choices–these keywords don’t necessarily have anything to do with the product being advertised but more so what the targeted audience is most likely interested in. Examples of such are similar bands/artists in the same genre with the musicians being promoted to ensure that we are targeting the same group of audience.

Understanding when and how to combine these two types of keywords is immensely instrumental to creating and running successful campaigns. This is particularly true when promoting a fresh musician or band that has not accumulated enough search volume. It is vital to have a list of similar artists/bands with a desirable fan base to target so that exposure for the new artist(s) is maximized while aiming at a nonetheless niche market.

Search These are specific and targeted to a certain group of audience with generally low to moderate cost per click. Search volume on YouTube is only second to Google Search itself, so there is much to gain here.

Contextual These refer to the matching between your chosen list of keywords and what are included in the titles, descriptions, and tags of regular YouTube videos. Coupling with these keywords are in-stream or in-display ads that run on or next to videos with related contents. The CPC is also generally very low here.

When choosing an interest category for your campaign (ex. Music & Audio, Rock Music, etc…), you are essentially targeting people by their interests, which were analyzed and compiled over time by the Google Networks. These interests are based on websites, videos, and content that your audience visits regularly and are directly relevant to your ads.

Example: if you are trying to sell an iTunes album of a popular singer, it is best to select Music & Audio and/or the specific musical genre your artist belongs to as the Interest targeting.

These refer to general topics such as government, sport, or fashion. Your ads will be shown to people watching certain content or on videos that belong to the genre you picked. They are not as specific as other types of targeting but great for exposure to a broader audience.

When planned carefully, placements can be extremely effective in marketing your ads to just the perfect audience and will yield considerably high conversion rates and/or click through rates. This is because with placements, you can select specific YouTube videos or channels you want your ads to run on (with restrictions of course, not all videos are fair game). The cost per click is generally higher than keywords but still manageable, although this is a very tricky targeting type and sometimes your ads might not run at all. However, experienced advertisers know how to work their way around these problems.

Another preferred targeting choice, retargeting means showing ads to an audience that has completed certain actions, such as visited a website, watched a video on YouTube, subscribed to a YouTube channel, or liked a YouTube video. The possibilities are quite endless here assuming that you have certain control over those channels or websites so that we can connect them with the AdWords account.

Remarketing/Retargeting is a relatively safe and compelling method since the audience/viewers have already expressed interest and been exposed to the product/brand before. It serves to better engage and relate to the audience of your choice. It is also considered one of the most important targeting options in the advertising world. Ask us for more information on how to build retargeting lists for your artists/products and we will be happy to share!

This is mainly based on gender or age of the YouTube viewers. It may or may not be very accurate depending on the authenticity of YouTube accounts. With the recent merging between YouTube and Google accounts, this problem is likely reduced but not entirely eliminated.

In the end, it is important to remember that none of these targeting options are perfect or sufficient on their own. The best performing campaigns are those that combine two or more of these in a strategic manner. It requires the advertisers and clients to have a thorough understanding of not just their products/brands but also of the audience whom they seek to appeal to. Learn more about targeting through our case studies and let us know if you have any questions/comments!

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